The General Assembly, which has been debating the Palestinian refugee issue over the past few weeks, has now moved on to the next item on the agenda -- the Middle East.
GV INTERIOR United Nations General Assembly in session
CU Egyptian representative Dr. Ahmed Meguid addressing Assembly in Arabic
SV Libyan delegates listening
CU Syrian representative Mowaffak Allaf Addressing Assembly in Arabic
SV Delegates seated
SV Israeli representative Chaim Herzog addressing Assembly in English
HERZOG: "Mr. President, the government of Israel has made its position clear. For our part, the Geneva conference of December 1973 can be reconvened tomorrow. What purpose therefore I ask you is there in this fruitless, barren diatribe. What advantage can and will be gained from hearing once again the endless repetitions which this debate brings forth from the Arab delegations and their friends, and, yes, the Israel delegation, not to mention the time-worn dialectic of our communist colleagues. Nothing. You know as well as I do that it is a ridiculous, purposeless waste of time and money which can be put to better use. May I therefore suggest to the delegates who initiated this debate and to the General Assembly, and move towards face-to-face negotiations between the parties in accordance with the framework already created by the Security Council."
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Background: The General Assembly, which has been debating the Palestinian refugee issue over the past few weeks, has now moved on to the next item on the agenda -- the Middle East.
SYNOPSIS: Representatives of the differing parties seemed to agree on one thing -- that the Geneva Peace conference should resume -- but on different terms.
The opening speaker, Egypt's ambassador, Ahmed Estmat Abdel Meguid, said the conference should be reconvened in the New Year. If there was undue delay, he said, the Arabs would proceed to "liberate their territories". The ambassador said the General Assembly and the Security Council should supervise the peace effort, in which the Palestine Liberation Organisation must play a full part.
The Syrian ambassador, Mowaffak Allaf, re-iterated the old Arab argument that Israel must return the country to the Palestinian people. The 1967 war was not the beginning of the aggression -- that has been going on for twenty years, he said. The withdrawal of Israel from Syrian and Egyptian territory was not enough to end the conflict.
Israel ambassador Chaim Herzog also called for a resumption of the Geneva talks -- but without the Palestinians.